The Big Idea: People are emotional creatures, so negotiations are more emotional than people think. Use tactical empathy to negotiate. Don’t just split the difference.
CHAPTER 1 THE NEW RULES
Life is negotiation.
“Getting to Yes” and BATNA assumes a purely rational interaction.
Many negotiations are highly emotional.
The key concept in this book is tactical empathy.
CHAPTER 2 BE A MIRROR
A good negotiator prepares, going in, to be ready for possible surprises; a great negotiator aims to use her skills to reveal the surprises she is certain to find.
Don’t commit to assumptions; instead, view them as hypotheses and use the negotiation to test them rigorously.
People who view negotiation as a battle of arguments become overwhelmed by the voices in their head. Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.
To quiet the voices in your head, make your sole and all-encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say.
Slow. It. Down. Going too fast is one of the mistakes all negotiators are prone to making. If we’re too much in a hurry, people can feel as if they’re not being heard. You risk undermining the rapport and trust you’ve built.
Put a smile on your face. When people are in a positive frame of mind, they think more quickly, and are more likely to collaborate and problem-solve (instead of fight and resist). Positivity creates mental agility in both you and your counterpart.
There are three voice tones available to negotiators: 1.The late-night FM DJ voice 2.The positive/playful voice 3. The direct or assertive voice: Used rarely.
Mirrors work magic. Repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said. We fear what’s different and are drawn to what’s similar. Mirroring is the art of insinuating similarity, which facilitates bonding. Use mirrors to encourage the other side to empathize and bond with you, keep people talking, buy your side time to regroup, and encourage your counterparts to reveal their strategy.
CHAPTER 3 DON’T FEEL THEIR PAIN, LABEL IT
Imagine yourself in your counterpart’s situation. By acknowledging the other person’s situation, you convey that you are listening, which will encourage them to tell you something that you can use.
Focus first on clearing the barriers to agreement. Get them into the open.
Pause. After you label a barrier or mirror a statement, let it sink in. Don’t worry, the other party will fill the silence.
Label your counterpart’s fears to diffuse their power and generate feelings of safety, well-being, and trust.
List the worst things that the other party could say about you and say them before the other person can. Performing an accusation audit in advance prepares you to head off negative dynamics before they take root.
CHAPTER 4 BEWARE “YES”—MASTER “NO”
While it may sound contradictory, the way to make the other party feel safe and divulge information is by getting the other party to disagree, to draw their own boundaries, to define their desires as a function of what they do not want.
“No” really often just means “Wait” or “I’m not comfortable with that.” Learn how to hear it calmly. It is not the end of the negotiation, but the beginning.
“Yes” is the final goal of a negotiation, but don’t aim for it at the start.
Saying “No” makes the speaker feel safe, secure, and in control, so trigger it. By saying what they don’t want, your counterpart defines their space and gains the confidence and comfort to listen to you.
Sometimes, intentionally mislabel one of their emotions or desires or asking a ridiculous question—like, “It seems like you want this project to fail”—that can only be answered negatively.
Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.
CHAPTER 5 TRIGGER THE TWO WORDS THAT IMMEDIATELY TRANSFORM ANY NEGOTIATION
Once the other party feels that you understand their dreams and feelings, transformative mental and behavioral change is possible.
“That’s right” is better than “yes” or “you’re right.”
Summarize the situation or their feelings to trigger a “that’s right.”
CHAPTER 6 BEND THEIR REALITY
All negotiations are defined by a network of subterranean desires and needs. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the surface. Once you know that the Haitian kidnappers just want party money, you will be miles better prepared.
Splitting the difference is wearing one black and one brown shoe, so don’t compromise. Meeting halfway often leads to bad deals for both sides.
Approaching deadlines entice people to rush the negotiating process and do impulsive things that are against their best interests.
The F-word—“Fair”—is an emotional term people usually exploit to put the other side on the defensive and gain concessions. When your counterpart drops the F-bomb, don’t get suckered into a concession. Instead, ask them to explain how you’re mistreating them.
You can bend your counterpart’s reality by anchoring his starting point. Before you make an offer, emotionally anchor them by saying how bad it will be. When you get to numbers, set an extreme anchor to make your “real” offer seem reasonable, or use a range to seem less aggressive. The real value of anything depends on what vantage point you’re looking at it from.
People will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realize a gain. Make sure your counterpart sees that there is something to lose by inaction.
CHAPTER 7 CREATE THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
A skilled negotiator who listens well can direct the conversation towards his own goals because the talker is revealing information.
Don’t try to force your opponent to admit that you are right. Aggressive confrontation is the enemy of constructive negotiation.
Avoid questions that can be answered with “Yes” or tiny pieces of information. These require little thought and inspire the human need for reciprocity; you will be expected to give something back.
Ask calibrated questions that start with the words “How” or “What.” By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.
Don’t ask questions that start with “Why” unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you. “Why” is always an accusation, in any language.
Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.
When you’re attacked in a negotiation, pause and avoid angry emotional reactions. Instead, ask your counterpart a calibrated question.
There is always a team on the other side. If you are not influencing those behind the table, you are vulnerable.
CHAPTER 8 GUARANTEE EXECUTION
“Yes” is nothing without “How.”
Ask calibrated “How” questions, and ask them again and again. Asking “How” keeps your counterparts engaged but off balance. Answering the questions will give them the illusion of control. It will also lead them to contemplate your problems when making their demands.
Use “How” questions to shape the negotiating environment. You do this by using “How can I do that?” as a gentle version of “No.” This will subtly push your counterpart to search for other solutions—your solutions. And very often it will get them to bid against themselves.
Don’t just pay attention to the people you’re negotiating with directly; always identify the motivations of the players “behind the table.” You can do so by asking how a deal will affect everybody else and how on board they are.
Follow the 7-38-55 Percent Rule by paying close attention to tone of voice and body language. Incongruence between the words and nonverbal signs will show when your counterpart is lying or uncomfortable with a deal.
Is the “Yes” real or counterfeit? Test it with the Rule of Three: use calibrated questions, summaries, and labels to get your counterpart to reaffirm their agreement at least three times. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction.
If you’re hearing a lot of “I,” “me,” and “my,” the real power to decide probably lies elsewhere.
Use your own name to make yourself a real person to the other side and even get your own personal discount.
CHAPTER 9 BARGAIN HARD
Top negotiators know, however, that conflict is often the path to great deals. Conflict brings out truth, creativity, and resolution.
Identify your counterpart’s negotiating style. Once you know whether they are Accommodator, Assertive, or Analyst, you’ll know the correct way to approach them.
Kick-ass negotiators usually lead with an extreme anchor to knock you off your game.
Set boundaries, and learn to take a punch or punch back, without anger.
Prepare an Ackerman plan. Before you head into the weeds of bargaining, you’ll need a plan of extreme anchor, calibrated questions, and well-defined offers. Remember: 65, 85, 95, 100 percent. Decreasing raises and ending on nonround numbers (and a non-monetary bonus) will get your counterpart to believe that he’s squeezing you for all you’re worth when you’re really getting to the number you want.
CHAPTER 10 FIND THE BLACK SWAN
Every case is new, so remain flexible and adaptable.
Black Swans are leverage multipliers. Remember the three types of leverage: positive (the ability to give someone what they want); negative (the ability to hurt someone); and normative (using your counterpart’s norms to bring them around).
Work to understand the other side’s “religion.” Digging into worldviews inherently implies moving beyond the negotiating table and into the life, emotional and otherwise, of your counterpart. That’s where Black Swans live.
Review everything you hear from your counterpart. You will not hear everything the first time, so double-check. Compare notes with team members. Use backup listeners whose job is to listen between the lines.
Exploit the similarity principle. People are more apt to concede to someone they share a cultural similarity with, so dig for what makes them tick and show that you share common ground.
Get face time with your counterpart. Ten minutes of face time often reveals more than days of research. Pay special attention to your counterpart’s verbal and nonverbal communication at unguarded moments—at the beginning and the end of the session or when someone says something out of line.
APPENDIX PREPARE A NEGOTIATION ONE SHEET
SECTION I: THE GOAL Think through best/worst-case scenarios but only write down a specific goal that represents the best case.
SECTION II: SUMMARY Summarize and write out in just a couple of sentences the known facts that have led up to the negotiation.
SECTION III: LABELS/ACCUSATION AUDIT Prepare three to five labels to perform an accusation audit.
SECTION IV: CALIBRATED QUESTIONS Prepare three to five calibrated questions to reveal value to you and your counterpart and identify and overcome potential deal killers.
SECTION V: NONCASH OFFERS Prepare a list of noncash items possessed by your counterpart that would be valuable.